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Guide: Understanding audio specifications and hardware

Discussion in 'Audio, Video & Home Theater' started by imperialreign, Jul 5, 2008.

  1. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    analogue. at the moment you're only getting 2 channel sound, you might as well only have 2 speakers. analogue will give you 5.1 positional audio, so sounds would come from the direction they're suposed to (if someone is behind you, you hear them behind you) as well as a dedicated subwoofer channel as opposed to it being leeched from the stereo signal.
     
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  2. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    agreed, if you want to have the best 5.1 available to you. Although the amp can kinda upmix the signal from 2-channel to 5.1, you'll end up with channel mixing as the 2 channel source will be split up . . . meaning LF and LR will sound exactly the same, RF and RR will sound exactly the same, and your center channel will be a normalized blend between L and R.


    The only way to work around this with computer audio hardware would be to pick up a sound card capable of digital encoding, and the only Sound Blaster on the market capable of doing that is the X-Fi Titanium . . . unless you get hold of some dan_k drivers that have the encoding features unlocked . . .

    Auzentechs cards can encode (even the X-Fi models), Xonar DX models, Razer Barracuda AC-1, and a handful of HT Omega cards are amoung the mid-range and upper-end audio cards that offer encoding.
     
  3. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    just to clarify that little bit more... if you're using upmixing, its the same sounds from all directions. its NOT true 5.1. 5.1 sound means there are 6 audio channels, not just 2.

    Games are a lot more fun in 5.1
     
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  4. tigger

    tigger I'm the only one

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    I just been testing,and i think i have a weird problem with my amp or system.

    If i hook up my system with the creative 7.1 lead from the analogue ouputs from my onboard sound to the 5.1 inputs on my amp,the sound is really quiet,i have to turn my amp upto full to hear it.I even tried connecting my cd player to the analogue cd inputs and its the same,really low sound output.If i connect it using the co-axial digital,the sound is fine and even at vol no.2 it is pretty loud.My amp is 100w x 5 so has some clout.Do you reckon the analogue has gone on my amp?
     
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  5. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    probably not - try adjusting your Creative software mixer volume settings; make sure Digital I/O mode is disabled as well, both in the Creative software and within WIN.

    also, go to the sounds & audio devices WIN control panel, make sure that is setup for 5.1, and hit 'reset defaults' under speaker volumes.

    You card has OPAMPs for each of the analogue outputs, and they won't start boosting the signal until your audio voulme is at 45%-50%
     
  6. tigger

    tigger I'm the only one

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    I had the volume in the audio mixer to full,and it was also full on the console program.The fact that it was low using the cd player on the cd input points to the amp.I have tried using my onboard sound too,and it was the same,low analogue and ok using digital input.
     
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  7. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    that's unusual, but not impossible.

    if your getting low output with any other analogue inputs to the amp, then . . .


    by chance, there isn't any means of switching the amp between analogue or digital input, right?
     
  8. tigger

    tigger I'm the only one

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    There is,but even on the 5.1 input mode which is definatley analogue,it was still low.I guess my amp maybe fubar'd,i'll do a little more testing tho',to be sure.

    I found this page by the way.have a look it is interesting,shows how knobbled eax is on vista and the effect of alchemy.

    http://www.soundblaster.com/alchemy/
     
    Last edited: Jul 9, 2008
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  9. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    Yeah, audio hardware access is completely ass-backwards in Vista, and is a big reason why I still haven't installed the OS, yet;

    MaximumPC had a White Paper article on audio in Vista about a year ago, can't find it on their site, but you can read it in the .pdf archive: http://dl.maximumpc.com/Archives/MPC0707-web.pdf

    page number 62
     
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  10. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    well i installed alchemy universal and get full EAX in everything... so its all good for me.
     
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  11. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    ALchemy works, and even if a game isn't listed as supported by the software, you can always attempt to add the executable oneself and the majority of the time it will work as well.

    It only adds a bit of extra latency to the in-game audio setup in Vista . . . and considering the common system nowadays, it's not like it's really hurting much.
     
  12. Elementlmage New Member

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    Very nice article man, I just got through reading it and it answered some questions that I have always had burning in the back of my mind. Also, what software where you using to measure the THD, dynamic range, etc.?

    IMO, my favorite speaker material is silk. A bit exotic, but it creates a very smooth dynamic range and a great signal response. I have a set of Polks that I use in my car that perform quite admirably, especially since a I drive an econo car('94 Sentra) and have them paired with a fairly low end amp. It's a 400w kenwood. At higher volume levels (110db+, Gwar isn't going to play itself you know) there is quite a bit of harmonic distortion, in the form of pitch bend, however there is very little crosstalk and almost no IMD even at higher volumes.

    Anyway, nice to see there is another tech head roaming the GSC forums ;)

    -Edit-
    It's also nice to see someone who enjoys some Thief 3.
     
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008
  13. Hayder_Master

    Hayder_Master

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    impressive great thread , im waiting for someone do thread like this , this thread complete the thread guide circle
     
  14. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    The program I used for measuring audio specs was RightMark Audio Analyzer, it can be obtained here: http://www.rightmark.org/

    There's also RM 3D Sound, which can be used for measuring audio positioning accuracy, as well as CPU utilization for different audio APIs (DirectSound3D/EAX, OpenAL/EAX, ASIO)

    Although, keep in mind, it's a software based solution for measuring, there are a few drawbacks to it - notably, if testing from output to input across one card, the quality is capped by what the ADC is capable of . . . for example, if your output channels are capable of 118db SNR, but the ADC is only capable of 103db SNR - the max SNR value will be close to 103db instead of 118db . . .

    if you have a card that's of better input/output quality than the one you're testing (how many people actually do, though?), it can clear up this issue.

    Still wish I had the equipment to test via hardware :ohwell:



    As to the speaker materials - silk is great. TBH, I've always viewed speaker materials as another "specification" when deciding what components you want for a setup. Y'know, if you'll be listening mostly to classical and symphonic music, having IMPP cones with kevlar surround isn't going to be the wisest choice for good audio reproduction :p

    Personally, I prefer the more rigid materials due to the types of music I listen to.


    I wouldn't put it past 'em! :p
     
  15. Elementlmage New Member

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    Price for a good mic alone will make you cringe. Then you have to make sure that your mic input amp is up to the task. Then you gotta pay for the software to do the testing. One of the new Anandtech correspondents uses what looks like a nice measurement utility that is complete with digital room correction. The only down side is that it cost $190. But, TPB never sleeps. ;)

    Also, depending on where you are, I suppose Gwar does play itself or sohuld I say themselves. I'm still washing the blood out of my clothes!
     
  16. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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  17. Crushgate New Member

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    B&W Speakers are excellent in my opinion guess they wouldn't use them at Skywalker Sound Studios and Abbey Road otherwise...
     
  18. SabreWulf69

    SabreWulf69 New Member

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    Does anyone have a copy of this guide in a nicely accessible Word Document format or similar? Would be really handy :)
     
  19. hat

    hat Enthusiast

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    What about the ASUS HDMI card?
     
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  20. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    you quoted a post from 2008 :p many more cards have encoding now
     
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  21. hat

    hat Enthusiast

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    Including the ASUS card I mentioned?
     
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  22. SabreWulf69

    SabreWulf69 New Member

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    I believe so...
     
  23. Mussels

    Mussels Moderprator Staff Member

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    bump for being moved to the new forum section.
     
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  24. imperialreign

    imperialreign New Member

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    Old thread, but now that it has resurfaced . . . anyone have any suggestions or requests to be added to the primary posts?
     
  25. Frederik S Staff

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    You could add the TRRS connector to the connector section. It has the potential to become the industry standard for portable balanced headphones and in-ears.

    For pics just take one from the RE-ZERO review.

    Cheers,
    Frederik
     
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